Hello there. I had planned on doing these previews separately, but as I said in the blog, I’m a bit busy today so I decided to throw them all into one post and have a quick look at each of them.
Watford vs Crystal Palace
Watford host Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, with the game set to kick off at 1:30pm. The Hornets are fifth in the table after their first two games, while Crystal Palace are 10th.
Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra, Gray, Deeney
Subs: Gomes, Prodl, Mariappa, Femenia, Masina, Sema, Success
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt, Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp, Zaha, Benteke
Subs: Guaita, Kelly, Riedewald, Kouyate, Meyer, Ayew, Sorloth: Guaita, Kelly, Riedewald, Kouyate, Meyer, Ayew, Sorloth
Watford have won both of their first two games. They beat Brighton 2-0 at Vicarage Road, before beating Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor. When I saw Watford’s squad before the season started, and considered that I wasn’t convinced by Javi Gracia, I thought they may struggle this season. That hasn’t been the case so far, and they have a good chance to win their third game in a row today. That would leave them in a great position this early in the season. They would move into second with a win.
It’s obviously early days, but racking up points early in the season is really positive. I don’t think they plan on being in a relegation battle this season, and will plan on finishing in mid table once again, as has been the case over the last few seasons. They have established themselves as a Premier League team, and will hope that’s the case for many years.
Miguel Britos, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu are all out, while Stefano Okaka will also likely miss out.
Crystal Palace are hopeful of having a good season. They won’t want to have anything like that had last season, when they started off dreadfully. It took time for Roy Hodgson to get them playing, but they got there in the end and finished in 11th. A finish in the same position this season should be their goal, and there’s no reason they can’t manage that. Their squad looks strong, and they’ll put it up to a lot of teams this season, including Watford today.
With Wilfried Zaha in their team, they look extremely strong. I’m not sure there’s a better player than him outside the top six, and Palace are lucky to have him. He can change a game in an instance, and Palace will be praying that they can keep him fit this season. They have built a solid base around him, and there are plenty of players to compliment him.
Christian Benteke may be running out of chances to play beside Zaha though. His goal drought continues, but he offers other things to this Palace team. He can hold the ball up and bring Zaha into play, and that can be a very effective weapon for them. He needs to find the back of the net more though, and a goal today would definitely help his cause.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka misses out as he’s banned. He only has a one game ban. I thought a straight red card was a three game ban, regardless of the reason. But I have just found out that I have been wrong all my life! Because he made an attempt to play the ball, and he wasn’t sent off for violent conduct, he just gets one game. I have honestly never heard that before, but there you go!
I think this will be a good game, and it really could go either way. Maybe a draw is the most likely result.
Fulham vs Burnley
Fulham host Burnley at Craven Cottage, with their game set to kick off at 4pm. At this early stage of the season, Fulham are 19th in the table, while Burnley are 17th.
Fulham are one of only two teams to be without a point so far. West Ham are the other team, although Fulham have played just two games, compared to the Irons’ three. Today presents a good opportunity to get off the mark against a Burnley side that may be tired after playing against Olympiacos in Greece on Thursday night.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s expensively assembled squad haven’t hit the ground running on their return to the Premier League. They were beaten by Crystal Palace on the opening day at Craven Cottage, before falling to a 3-1 defeat against Spurs at Wembley last week. It’s still early days, and there’s no need to panic just yet. Their new players need time to bed in, and they will come good eventually and they should have a solid season. I can’t see them being in trouble as their squad is very strong.
Playing Burnley today may suit them, as they will likely have more of the ball and will be able to get forward quite a bit. Burnley will be organised and hard to break down, but it’s definitely not an impossible task for them. We could get an example of what Fulham are all about today.
The Cottagers are still without Alfie Mawson, who continues his return to fitness after surgery in May. Floyd Ayite and Tim Ream are also unavailable, but Denis Odoi returns.
Burnley are yet to really get going this season, with just one point from their first two games. They haven’t been spectacular in their Europa League games either, needing extra time to beat Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir. They fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Olympiacos on Thursday night. The Clarets drew with Southampton on the opening day, before falling to a 3-1 defeat against Watford last week.
I’m not sure anybody expected them to have a season as good as last season, but they’ll want to be solid regardless. Some people are saying there’s a chance of them being relegated, but I would be surprised if they weren’t good enough to distance themselves from a relegation battle. The Europa League is certainly making things more difficult for them, but they should have enough about them to be able to cope with that. They’ll get going eventually and should be able to kick on soon.
They could have a tricky game on their hands today, as Fulham will be desperate to get the win. Burnley will have to be really well organised, as they usually are. They’ll look to keep it tight and hope to nick a goal. There’s no reason they can’t get their first win of the season today. They have the quality to cause Fulham problems.
The Clarets will likely make a few changes to their side that played in Greece on Thursday night.
This could well be a tight game, and it could be won by the odd goal. Either side could get that odd goal. I don’t really know which way it’ll go, but both sides will really want to get their first win. Fulham are probably favourites because of Burnley’s European exploits.
Newcastle vs Chelsea
Newcastle have managed just a single point from their first two games, while Chelsea have won two from two under new boss Maurizio Sarri.
Newcastle are used to having slow starts to the season. They never seem to start well, and they have managed just one point from their opening two games. They were beaten in the first game of the season by Spurs, but looked quite impressive despite the loss. But they were absolutely dreadful in last week’s 0-0 draw away to Cardiff, and probably didn’t even deserve the point they got. They should have won that game though, as Kenedy missed a last minute penalty.
They’ll be hoping to play more like the side that faced Spurs today. The Magpies deserved something from that game, and if they play like that again today, there’s a good chance they’ll get a result. Rafa Benitez will have his side set up well, and they’ll make it difficult for Chelsea. If they can manage to keep it tight and play on the break, they could even win this, but it will definitely be difficult.
Newcastle will be without Kenedy today, who can’t play against his parent club. They would have been better off without him last week too, as he had an absolute stinker. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that he has to sit out.
Chelsea have started their season with two wins, beating Huddersfield 3-0 and Arsenal 3-2. They were amazing in some parts of the Arsenal game, while they were really poor in others. Their defence doesn’t convince me, but it’s still early days under their new manager and he’ll be still trying to get his idea across to the players.
The introduction of Eden Hazard changed the game against Arsenal last weekend, and they’ll be hoping that he can start today. He was eased back into action after returning late from the World Cup, but he must be ready to go by now. He’ll make a huge difference to Chelsea’s attack, which is an extremely obvious thing for me to point out.
The Blues can take plenty of positives from their first two games, and will hope to make it three wins from three and go level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table. They should have the quality to get the job done.
Cesc Fabregas will miss out for them once again.
This one could be a good game, and it could be one that’s a real battle. Newcastle will want to keep it tight and will try to disrupt Chelsea. The Blues may have to be at their best if they’re going to get the win.
Anyway, that’s that from me for today. Sorry everything’s a bit rushed, but I have a bit to do today. Enjoy the football and have a good Sunday!